Leaving no stone unturned, Porsche subjected the 510hp 911 to a brutal testing regime
By Sam Sheehan / Wednesday, April 7, 2021 / Loading comments
Porsche has reiterated the lengths its motorsport engineers went to during the development of the new 991 GT3 in the most Porsche way possible: with lots of big numbers. Like, for example, did you know that the Weissach team ran a prototype around Nardo for 3,100 miles at 186mph, only stopping to refuel? Or that a large portion of the 22,000 hours of test running for the 9,000rpm 4.0-litre motor involved simulations of multiple tracks with tank-emptying stints? It’s exactly the same assault course of practices Porsche uses for its racing 911s, and not just for fun, but because the 992 GT3 is more closely related to the GT3 R and Cup cars than ever before, having been developed right alongside them.
Building on the description it provided when the car was revealed in February, the racing division has confirmed that the 992’s aerodynamic pack is no less adjustable than the competition machines’. Developed in the wind tunnel during 160 hours of testing split across 700 track simulations, that swan-neck rear wing, already a defining feature of the car, has four-levels of adjustment that can be balanced by the tweakable splitter at the front. But unlike other roadgoing machines with adjustable downforce controlled by buttons and electric motors, both ends can be manually altered separately from each other. Which means motorsport-levels of customisation to satisfy Allen key-wielding nerds and professionals alike.
It also means keen track day drivers can significantly alter the balance of their car from the factory setting provided by the Porsche Development Centre team in Weissach. Anyone who’s played with aero on a track car will know how this sort of adjustability allows anyone to tailor a car’s handling to personal preferences, unlocking more front or rear grip with small tweaks or – should you fancy your chances with no prior experience – absolutely ruining the balance with unmatched settings. But that’s all part of the fun. In its most slippery guise, the 992 GT3 is said to have 50 per cent more downforce than the 991.2 model at 124mph. In its most downforce-aggressive setting, the 992 GT3’s bodywork generates 150 per cent more. Which is madness.
This being Porsche, that aerodynamic performance has been tested and honed to work around corners as much as the straights, with the motorsport division’s wind tunnel allowing a car to be pitch and roll as if it were negotiating a technical circuit. All GT3s have been developed with track driving in mind, but the technical carry-over of parts from GT3 R racer to road 911 underline that this model is as asphalt ready as they come. The 510hp naturally aspirated flat-six is said to be identical in block and head, as well as camshaft, crankshaft and dry sump, with only a different ECU and WLTP filter-free exhaust to separate road from race. Even the throttle body is identical, something that “significantly improves responsiveness”, according to project manager for Porsche’s GT road engines, Thomas Mader.
As ever, Porsche subjected the incoming GT3 to extensive track work – and no fewer than 600 emissions tests, we should add – although its claim of 3,100 miles of Nardo Ring at 186mph is impressive for being just 11mph short of the car’s claimed top speed, and therefore close to its 9,000rpm limiter under load. By our calculations (so add a pinch of salt), the speed and distance means the 992 GT3 was running for about 16 hours, barring fuel stops and driver changes, which makes any real-world use seem modest in comparison. Doubtless everyone on the wait list is dying to put that thought to the test. They shouldn’t have long to wait now; Porsche expects deliveries to begin next month.
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